Buke no Toryo (武家の棟梁)

The term "Buke no toryo" means the leader of groups of samurai.

Although the term "toryo" (棟梁) generally refers to "master of craftsmen" at present, it originally referred to to (棟) (ridge) and ryo (梁) (a beam), the essential parts of a building's ceiling. Because to and ryo are situated at the top of building and were its essential parts, the term "toryo" became the one that referred to an important person of organization like a nation and was also written in Chinese characters as '頭領' or '統領' (according to the description of "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan) for the fifty-first year of the Emperor Keiko (121), TAKENOUCHI no Sukune was described as '棟梁之臣' (Mune no machigimi) (a prime minister).

In the tenth to the eleventh century, people called 'tanbugei no hai'/'buyu no hito' (a person excelled in military art) became the origin of samurai families and a person who led such families was called 'Bumon no toryo.'
Though 'Bumon no toryo' was not necessarily a single person, persons who had a particularly good reputation were TAIRA no Koretoki, TAIRA no Korehira and TAIRA no Muneyori of Kanmu-Heishi (Taira clan) and MINAMOTO no Mitsunaka, MINAMOTO no Yorimitsu and MINAMOTO no Yorinobu of Seiwa-Genji (Minamoto clan). The term 'Bushi no choja' (leader of samurai families) used for Yorinobu's grandson MINAMOTO no Yoshiie ("Chuyuki" - diary of FUJIWARA no Munetada) had the same meaning and Yoshiie's descendant (Kawachi-Genji (Minamoto clan)) was specifically called 'Tenka daiichi buyu no ie' (a peerless family of bravery). Ise-Heishi (Taira clan) led by Taira no Kiyomori once gained the above status. However, after MINAMOTO no Yoritomo seized 'Tenka heiba no ken' (the power of commanding a national military force) and established military government called Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), the scheme under which persons who originated from Seiwa-Genji/Kawachi-Genji became 'Buke no toryo=the head of bakufu/Seii taishogun (great general who subdues the barbarians)' became established.

Provided, however, some regional 'Buke no toryo' still survived after that. The leader of shuto (monk-soldiers) (Yamato bushi (samurai)) belonged to Kofuku-ji Temple, which was then the provincial governor of Yamato Province, maintained his position as 'Toryo' even after the establishment of the Kamakura bakufu and the Tsutsui clan, toryo of Ichijo-in Temple's shuto, and the Furuichi clan, toryo of Daijo-in Temple's shuto, competed against each other for the status of the leader of Yamato bushi.

[Original Japanese]